Even if you’ve read Agatha Christie‘s mystery-thriller, Murder on the Orient Express, or seen an earlier adaptation, it’ll still be fun to watch the plot roll out in Kenneth Branagh‘s new big screen take on the tale. It hits theaters today (November 10) and boasts the kind of stellar ensemble cast most movies can only dream of.
If you haven’t seen an earlier version or read the book, we’re sure you’ll have a theory on who ends up meeting their maker — and whodunit. But for some the story, and these big reveals, will come as a complete surprise.
But let’s not fast-forward to the ending just yet. Instead, let’s rewind and look at some of the cast members’ earlier work:
1. Kenneth Branagh (Hercule Poirot)
Kenneth Branagh not only directs this movie but stars in the lead as Detective Poriot. Though, judging by some of the comments were seeing on social media, his resplendent moustache is the real star. In his earlier days, Branagh starred in a number of Shakespearean productions, including Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V, and Othello, all available on Amazon Video. And this isn’t his first time portraying an inspector. Branagh also starred in the title role of the British version of the Swedish police procedural Wallander, based on the novels by Henning Mankell. You can catch up with detective Kurt Wallander over on Netflix. And if you want to see him being his delightful self, he just appeared BBC America’s The Graham Norton Show along with Murder on the Orient Express co-star and longtime friend Dame Judi Dench, and shared a very candid story about a run-in with the actress.
2. Judi Dench (Princess Dragomiroff)
In Murder on the Orient Express, Judi Dench plays a princess. Portraying a royal is nothing new for the seasoned actress, who played Queen Victoria not once but twice in 1997’s Her Majesty, Mrs. Brown and, more recently, in the 2017’s biopic Victoria and Abdul, which charts her majesty’s later life. Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, has passed away and she finds herself a little lost… until she makes a new friend. The film hit theaters recently, and will be available online this December. Switching genres, one of our favorite films starring Dench is the dramatic thriller Notes on a Scandal. Here she stars opposite Cate Blanchett and portrays a lonely woman seeking a bit of companionship. But she goes about it in a very odd way. If you need a refresher, here’s a look at the trailer for the 2006 flick:
3. Olivia Colman (Hildegarde Schmidt)
We definitely know where to find Olivia Colman at her finest: over on BBC America, of course! She stars opposite David Tennant in the critically-acclaimed Broadchurch, which opens with the shocking murder of a young child in a typically quiet seaside town in England. The second season details the trial of the accused murderer, with the third and final season examining a new case. You can get all the deets on where to watch over at BBCA.com. If you’d like to see another side to Colman, she recently popped up in the first season of Fleabag, starring her Broadchurch co-star Phoebe Waller-Bridge. She took on the role of an “evil stepmother” to Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag character. The two met and became friends on the set of The Iron Lady, which resulted in Waller-Bridge writing Colman into her dark comedy. You can check out their on-screen collaboration on Amazon Prime. Swing by Hulu and you can see Colman as Sophie in the excellent British sitcom Peep Show, which arguably made her name. Here she is getting romantic with Mark (David Mitchell) at a reception following a funeral:
4. Daisy Ridley (Mary Debenham)
While Daisy Ridley is already a household name, having starred in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Rey, she is still kind of new to the acting game. Only a limited amount of her work is available to stream online, but thankfully it includes The Force Awakens. She also pops up in some fun DIY videos, like this one where Murder on the Orient Express costar Josh Gad quizzes the actress on the forthcoming Star Wars follow-up, The Last Jedi, premiering on December 15. After two failed attempts to get some gossip, Gad called on Judi Dench for support:
5. Josh Gad (Hector MacQueen)
It seems like Josh Gad is popping up everywhere these days, including starring in this year’s Disney live-action film Beauty and the Beast as LeFou, Gaston’s (Luke Evans) right-hand man. The moralistic musical, also starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, can be streamed on Netflix. He also starred in the animated musical Frozen, providing the voice for the delightfully goofy Olaf, available via iTunes. You may even remember his guest spot on New Girl, featuring Zooey Deschanel in the title role. Gad played a character named Bearclaw in three episodes, between 2012-2015. If you need a refresher, the series can be found over at Netflix. In the below trailer for Marshall, which isn’t available online just yet, you can see Gad in a more serious role. Marshall tells the true story of lawyer and civil rights activist Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman), who ultimately became the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. Gad portrays his co-counsel, Sam Friedman, as he battles a career-defining case.
6. Penélope Cruz (Pilar Estravados)
One of Penélope Cruz‘s notable earlier roles include 2001’s Vanilla Sky where she played a love interest to Tom Cruise‘s playboy bachelor. After a car accident, he has trouble deciphering what’s real and what’s a dream. If you want to find out the answer, Vanilla Sky can be found at Amazon Video. You can also look for Cruz in 2008’s Vicky Christina Barcelona, starring opposite Javier Bardem as his ex-wife. While the two are divorced, they are still very connected. Let’s just say her character, Maria Elena, is very fiery. You can check out Vicky Christina Barcelona, starring Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall as American expats in Spain, over at Amazon Video. If you’d like a refresher, here’s the trailer:
7. Michelle Pfeiffer (Mrs. Hubbard)
Michelle Pfeiffer is definitely a household name — so well-known, in fact, that she turned up in one of the biggest pop hits in recent years, Bruno Mars‘ “Uptown Funk.” Pfeiffer appeared on The Graham Norton Show just recently and talked to our favorite chat show host about how she discovered she was in the song. Her filmography is long, so we’ll pull out a few of our streamable favorites, like 1989’s The Fabulous Baker Boys, where she shows off her singing voice as Susie Diamond, a lounge singer. In 1995’s Dangerous Minds, which you can find over on iTunes, she really brought it as a teacher to inner-city youths. More recently, Pfeiffer starred in this year’s horror-thriller Mother!, opposite Jennifer Lawrence. Being so new, the movie is not available online yet (you’ll have to wait until December 19 for that), but here’s a look at the trailer:
8. Leslie Odom Jr. (Dr. Arbuthnot)
Leslie Odom Jr. is a familiar face from American TV, starring in hits like Smash (2012-2013), Person of Interest (2013-2014) and Law & Order Special Victims Unit (2014-2015). All three series are available via Amazon Video. He also starred in the 2012 action film Red Tails, opposite Cuba Gooding Jr. and David Oyelowo, but Murder on the Orient Express is certainly his biggest film to date. You can watch the WWII film, which revolves around a group of African-American pilots called into duty, over at Amazon Video. In the meantime, here’s the trailer:
9. Willem Dafoe (Gerhard Hardman)
Just recently we saw Willem Dafoe in the Netflix original, What Happened to Monday? starring Noomi Rapace in the title role. It tells the story of a society where families are only allowed to have one child to combat overpopulation and famine. The “overspill” is simply taken away and put into hibernation. Dafoe portrays the grandfather to seven identical girls, who he raises in secret. He also starred in the original Spider-Man trilogy, with Tobey Maguire as the webslinger, taking on the dual role of Norman Osborn/Green Goblin. More recently, he popped up in 2016’s Finding Dory, providing the voice of Gill. You can catch up with Dafoe on the red carpet of the Murder on the Orient Express premiere in the below clip:
10. Johnny Depp (Edward Ratchett)
We get a closer look at Johnny Depp’s gangster character in the second Murder on the Orient Express trailer. In 1997 he played a sort of gangster wannabe, taking on the role of a jewel thief who became chummy with members of the mafia in Donnie Brasco. One of his most memorable roles is Jack Sparrow in The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, which he starred in from 2007-2017. Another favorite of ours is Depp as Willy Wonka in the 2005 adaptation of Roald Dahl‘s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Here he is, opposite Freddie Highmore‘s Charlie:
11. Derek Jacobi (Edward Masterman)
And, finally, we have Derek Jacobi, an Anglo regular. Jacobi starred opposite Sir Ian McKellen in the sitcom Vicious, where the two play a couple growing old together. The series, which originally ran on PBS, can be found over at Amazon Prime. He actually starred opposite his Murder on the Orient Express director and co-star Branagh in 1991’s Dead Again. He plays a hypnotist who helps Emma Thompson‘s character get over her amnesia. And, if you swing by Netflix, you can also find Jacobi in the popular series Last Tango in Halifax. The trailer’s below:
In addition to the cast featured in the character poster above, you can also look for: Sergei Polunin (Count Andrenyi), Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (Marquez), Tom Bateman (Bouc), Marwan Kenzari (Pierre Michel) and Lucy Boynton (Countess Andrenyi).
Murder on the Orient Express hits theaters today (November 10).
Are you going to backtrack and catch up with the cast members’ past roles?